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Baby Done

Peter Malone MSC  |  21 October 2020

BABY DONE,  New Zealand, 2020.  Starring Rose Matafeo, Matthew Lewis, Emily Barclay, Madaleine Sami, Rachel House, Ryan O'Kane. Directed by Curtis Vowell.  90 minutes. Rated M (Coarse language, sex and drug use).

At one stage, there is a listing of what women were expected to do in life: marry, have a house, baby – and, with that achieved, baby done.

This is a pregnancy film. There is plenty of comedy. And there are serious themes. In fact, quite a pleasing combination. (And, the executive producer is Taika Waititi with his celebrated sense of humour.)

The film depends on audience response to Zoe, the central character. She is played with quite some zest and sense of humour, with an appeal to pathos, by Rose Matafeo. Zoe is an arborist, working with her partner Tim in various parks and gardens. She has a particular skill in climbing trees – and, there is a worldwide competition for tree climbers in Canada and she is determined to go, winning a heat and qualifying.

But, Zoe is something of a hard case, Tim mentioning marriage at various times and Zoe having firm stances on no marriage. They go to a baby shower with all the mothers and fathers billing and cooing, Zoe rather put off. In the meantime, she has gone to have a pregnancy test – and she is pregnant. (This sequence introduces us to Madaleine Sami as, according to the credits, the Birthing Nurse – a down-to-earth woman of solid common sense who has no hesitation in giving straight and blunt answers and reappears, to the pleasure of the audience, in further sequences but, most especially, at the birth itself. And she is played by Madeleine Sami who co-wrote/directed and starred in that eccentric New Zealand comedy, The Breaker-Upperers.)

Tim is a very nice man, played by Matthew Lewis (English actor who was in all the Harry Potter films). It is only when Zoe hesitates at a bungee jump and the technician twigs that she is pregnant, that Tim becomes aware of it and, of course, transforms into that protective, over-protective, perpetually caring about-to-be father. Which Zoe likes, but doesn’t like, especially when she insists on going to the competition in Canada.

Of course, there are quite some ups and downs. Tim likes going to the birthing classes and becomes friendly with another mother. Zoe gradually lets her friends know and Tim and Zoe visit Zoe’s parents, white mother, Maori father who is a gynaecologist and surgeon. Zoe also makes a list of what she and Tim want to do before they have the baby – and Tim foolishly mentions a threesome with the Zoe’s best friend. When Zoe sets it up, it is an almost-immediate disaster. Zoe also encounters a man whose fetish is pregnant women. Zoe appreciates the attention but, ultimately, when he does a plaster cast of her body, it is too much.

No prize for guessing how the film ends but, of course, that is the delight, Tim so happy, Zoe loving her baby, the birthing nurse having laid down the law for both Zoe and Tim, Tim’s video of highlights of the pregnancy, and happy photos of mother and father and baby, celebrating life.

Madman Film
Released 22 October 
Peter Malone MSC is an associate of Jesuits Media

 

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